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What to Wear in Amsterdam: A Complete Packing List

What to Wear in Amsterdam: A Complete Packing List

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Wondering what to wear in Amsterdam?

Amsterdam is a city where anything goes. On any given day, you will see plenty of Dutch people (and mass amounts of tourists) dressed in just about everything from short sundresses to their Sunday best. 

But, no one wants to be disrespectful, underdressed, or uncomfortable. So, after traveling to Amsterdam so many times myself, there are certain things you should wear (and things to steer clear of) so that you match the casual but cute environment of the Venice of the North.

If you’re trying to figure out just what to pack for your upcoming trip to Amsterdam, this post will lay out everything you need! 

After all, you need to figure out just how to manage a wardrobe that can seamlessly transition from a magnificent outdoor canal cruise tour to the Anne Frank House and a nice evening dinner.

Thankfully, you’ll find that the packing list doesn’t need to change drastically for different seasons or activities. I’ve included a few staples and outlined a few extra must-have Amsterdam packing list items for the chilly winter season.

What’s the Weather Like in Amsterdam?

The weather in Amsterdam, the Netherland’s capital city, can vary depending on the season. And it can also be extremely temperamental. Of course, that makes packing ten times harder.

It’s important to note that the weather in Amsterdam is always a little bit chillier than you think it will be. This is because the city is situated along the water, and there is often a breeze. In addition, the weather is frequently cloudy in Amsterdam, so you will not find a lot of heat from the sun.

Amsterdam does not generally see extremely hot summers. The temperatures hover in the 70s Fahrenheit (low 20s Celsius), but the evenings are still quite cool. 

In contrast, winters in Amsterdam are considered mild. Do they get snow in Amsterdam during the winter? Yep! But, I’ve also been to Amsterdam for Christmas, and I was just fine in nothing but a raincoat. 

All that to say, it can be quite difficult to predict what the weather will be like in Amsterdam. You’ll need to stay up-to-date with current temperatures and pack accordingly.

But, it’s safe to say that no matter what time you’re planning to visit Amsterdam, plan for rain. And, generally, lots of it!

woman walking across a crosswalk with a sundress on.

Wear the clothes that you feel most comfortable in, the nice thing about Amsterdam is that it is a big city and self-expression is everywhere.

What to Wear in Amsterdam in Summer, Spring, & Autumn

As far as fashion goes, Amsterdam is a pretty laid-back city. Most people tend to have some kind of grungy, vintage style, complete with items that seem mismatched but somehow work together to look fabulous.

Overall, you will not find many people dressed up in Amsterdam, so you can let out a breath and just dress in what’s comfortable for you.

If you are traveling to Amsterdam during the summer and packing in a few other European destinations, be sure to check out our full European summer packing list.

1. Neutral Clothing

One thing I’ve learned over the years visiting Amsterdam is that most people wear a neutral color palette when it comes to clothing and shoes. You’ll find tons of outfits fueled by blacks, tans, army green, and white. 

The great thing about this? All of these colors pair well together, and you can easily pack the perfect capsule wardrobe with staple pieces to rotate seamlessly! 

2. Sneakers (or other comfortable footwear)

Pretty much everyone in Amsterdam wears sneakers. I remember being floored by the fact that even girls in cute dresses wore them…strappy sandals and flip-flops are just not a popular clothing item in Amsterdam. Maybe it’s all the biking.

The cobblestone streets in the Netherlands require sneakers or other comfortable shoes. Anything dressier is just not practical.

In Amsterdam, you’ll be walking in the city a lot, so do yourself (and your feet) a favor, and wear sneakers. 

I prefer a cute white pair like these Adidas sneakers or these Puma sneakers which I bought recently and are so comfortable for walking. White sneakers go with everything and if you wipe them after a day in the mud, they can stay pretty clean for a while.

canal in amsterdam with the reflection of the buildings in the water and birds flying in the sky.

Amsterdam is a magical city to explore, don’t let your bad packing list ruin the day.

3. Booties

Short boots are a great way to dress up an outfit or add some flair if you’d like to ditch your sneakers for a day. Bonus points if your booties are waterproof.

A pair of cute Chelsea boots are always stylish. You can get a pair in black or tan and they will match with the rest of your Amsterdam capsule wardrobe. They are the perfect option if you are packing for Amsterdam in winter or autumn.

4. Jeans

You’ll see jeans everywhere in Amsterdam, and they are a great staple for your Amsterdam packing list.

Jeans go with everything, and you can re-wear them a few times before you have to wash them, which means you don’t need to pack a pair for every day of the trip.

Even in the summer, the weather is cool enough in the evenings that you won’t be extremely hot in jeans.

Consider packing two or three different styles to suit your day’s activities. I like to always pack a pair of skinny jeans that have a bit of stretch to them (great for all of the food you’ll be sampling!), a pair of looser-fitting mom jeans, and then either a pair of flair or wide-leg jeans (or a second pair of skinny jeans).

5. Shorts

If you are in Amsterdam during the summer months, you can get away with wearing shorts.

However, just be aware that not many locals wear them. In fact, I rarely see people in Amsterdam wearing them. Of course, the city is packed with tourists and plenty of people from all over the world visiting Amsterdam will be wearing shorts. So if that’s how you feel most comfortable, then pack those shorts!

The reason many locals probably don’t wear shorts is that the weather can change so quickly in Amsterdam. You can leave the hotel feeling like shorts were a great idea, but two hours later when you are miles from your hotel, you’ll wish you had worn something a little bit warmer.

Always check the weather for the entire day and make sure that you are prepared for whatever temperatures and precipitation may arrive while you’re away from your suitcase.

two people riding bikes in amsterdam along the bike lane.

Pack clothes that you will feel comfortable riding bikes in all day, that’s how the locals dress!

6. Sundresses

Women in Amsterdam frequently wear sundresses. Dutch women even wear them while biking!  

Sundresses or other basic cotton dresses are a fantastic way to still feel put together, even though you’re not extremely dressed up. If you get the right fabric, you also won’t have to worry too much about ironing it when you pull it out of your suitcase.

More than that, sundresses are incredibly versatile. In the summer, a sundress paired with sneakers is perfect.

In fall and spring, choose a neutral dress that can easily be layered with. Throw on a cardigan or tights underneath and with your sneakers or boots, they will look great.

7. Various T-Shirts

Your favorite t-shirts must have a spot on your Amsterdam packing list.

Since the city is a mostly casual and practical place when it comes to fashion sense, you’ll find many locals pairing a tee with a pair of jeans, a skirt, or even slacks.

T-shirts are necessary because they layer perfectly. If it’s a little chillier than you anticipated, you can throw on a top layer, and vice versa.

Plus, if you’re short on packing space, mixing and matching tees can be super helpful as you plan for different outfits.

I always have a nice selection of soft cotton t-shirts from Jcrew, this style from H&M, and some fun colorful t-shirts that I pick up along my travels.

8. Waterproof Rain Jacket

Do not pack for Amsterdam without including a waterproof rain jacket. Whether you’re traveling to Amsterdam for a few days or two weeks, you’re pretty much guaranteed to encounter some sort of rain. 

I have been in Amsterdam when it has poured for the entire day and other times where it has drizzled for a brief ten minutes. You never know which end of the Amsterdam weather you’ll get, but you’ll want to be prepared.

A light waterproof rain jacket is all you need. If you have a heavier one, you may be too hot once it stops raining. I would recommend buying a little bit of a longer one, almost like a trench like this one, so that it covers more of your pants than just falling to your waist.

I also love the simple Columbia rain jackets that come in a few colors, fit well, and last a lifetime.

pedestrian street with a market on both sides and stalls selling food and souvenirs.

The city is packed with cool things to see and do on your trip.

9. Light Jacket or Cardigan

As I mentioned before, Amsterdam is frequently a bit colder than you might anticipate, even after you check the weather. Fifty degrees Fahrenheit (10 degrees Celsius) in Amsterdam somehow feels much colder than fifty degrees at home! 

Therefore, it is a good idea to bring a light jacket or sweater with you that can layer on top of your other clothes.

Almost everyone around the city will have some type of jacket on. Whether it’s long vests, trenchcoats, or leather jackets which are all the rage right now. 

What to Pack For Amsterdam in Winter

The weather in Amsterdam during the winter months is certainly colder, but it’s not as if you were bundling up for an adventure in, say, Copenhagen in winter. While it doesn’t make the list of best places to visit in Europe in December, if you are visiting in the winter months, you’ll still have an amazing time.

In fact, there are only a few items that you’ll need to add to your winter in Amsterdam packing list. 

Winter Jacket

I recommend throwing a winter jacket into your suitcase if you’re hitting Amsterdam during winter. Something like the Northface Thermoball.

Although the weather is not freezing cold often, a good jacket will help you stay more comfortable in case of snow or wind!

Sweaters

Replace your summer tee shirts with a few sweaters if you’re traveling in winter. I like the thin merino wool sweaters from Uniqlo.

They are easy to pack, they are very cute, they fit close to the body, they don’t take up much space, and they are nice and warm.

Winter Accessories

Pack a pair of gloves and a hat with you, just in case you need them. The winter rain that Amsterdam is famous for can come down at any time and being wet and cold is the worst.

a city sign that says I Am-sterstam and people ice skating in front of it.

When thinking about what to pack for Amsterdam in winter, think about what activities you will be doing. If you are ice skating or spending a lot of time outdoors, you’ll want some good winter weather gear.

Waterproof Boots

Waterproof boots are a must-have on your Amsterdam packing list. You will be walking quite a bit on uneven ground in the wintery weather.

If you have a pair of leather Chelsea boots, then you’ll be fine to wear those while you are in Amsterdam in winter.

I also love Doc Martens, especially this style with the fur inside, which are cute, but practical. They will keep your feet dry and warm.

What Else to Pack For Amsterdam

Here are a few other items you should add to your packing list for Amsterdam, regardless of the season you’re traveling!

An Umbrella

Don’t even bother going to Amsterdam if you’re not going to pack an umbrella. Amsterdam is rainy on the best days, and you do not want to head all the way there and be stuck inside because you didn’t plan ahead. 

You can of course buy one when you get to Amsterdam, but they won’t be as cheap or probably as nice as the ones you can get on Amazon or from your favorite local shops.

Crossbody Bag

I have an entire article about the best bags for traveling to Europe.

I always recommend people get a cross-body bag when traveling. Wherever you are traveling, but especially to European cities where you are on and off public transportation and you want to have everything close at hand.

A crossbody also helps minimize the risk of having things stolen. Pickpockets are real in major European cities, and Amsterdam is no exception. Keep valuables close and in front of you with a crossbody bag.

bridge over a canal in Amsterdam with a bike parked in front of it and house boats on the water.

Bring a bag with you that you can zip all the way up and that you can fit all of your essentials in.

A Nice Evening Outfit

Even though Amsterdam is very laid back when it comes to dressing up, it’s still nice to have an evening outfit to dress up every once in a while.

Amsterdam has its fair share of delicious restaurants that are more upscale, and a dress or nice pair of pants are more than appropriate.

If you are planning your Amsterdam packing list and you want to know what to wear in Amsterdam for a ballet, cool show, or a fancy dinner, then be sure to pack a nicer dress or a stylish set so that you don’t feel out of place.

A Packing List for Amsterdam: What to Wear in the Netherlands

There you have it. The perfect packing list for what to wear in Amsterdam. 

No matter what time of year you’re visiting, it’s important to have these key items to ensure you have the most memorable trip possible- in style.